I am not planning to only feature foods my daughter is currently obsessed with in this series, but it makes for an inspiring start. And boy, does she love beets!
She loves beets so much that on more than one occasion she has had a full toddler meltdown because she wanted beets but I had decided to serve her something else. What’s an RD mama to do?? On the one hand, I know that as the adult it’s my choice to determine what she is served, but on the other hand, for goodness’ sake…she’s not crying for chicken nuggets or cookies, the child just wants some beets! I’ll admit it…when it’s beets she wants, I usually give in.
She actually took this one off of my plate after she’d finished her own!
I’m especially encouraged by how much she loves beets considering that their flavor is divisive even among adults. And if I’m being honest, prior to having kids, they’re not a food I often chose to cook for myself and my husband. But as I described in my post 10 Unconventional Foods for Kids from Trader Joe’s, one day I picked up a packaged of pre-cooked beets and the rest is history. It didn’t take her multiple exposures to grow to like them, she was a beet convert from day one.
So we’re eating a lot more beets in my household these days! And I’m learning a lot more about beets, including:
Beets are a root vegetable that are surprisingly in the same family as chard, spinach and quinoa.
Their red color comes from a phytonutrient called betalain.
Beets are not always dark red. Golden beets are yellow and chioggia beets are red-and-white striped.
If you are dedicated enough, you can make a red velvet cake using beets as natural food coloring.
Don’t be alarmed if you serve your child beets and then discover that their pee or poop is pink or red! It’s totally natural, but only happens to certain people.
Beets are an excellent source of folate, which is also commonly found in leafy greens. So if your kid isn’t yet a fan of greens, give beets a try!
Beet greens are edible and similar in flavor to chard and spinach.
Now will your kid eat them? The only way to tell is to give them a try! Track your child’s progress with accepting beets with my free Food Exposure Chart.
I’ll admit that I don’t often cook raw beets. It’s just far too messy for this busy mama! I pretty much exclusively buy the pre-cooked packages from Trader Joe’s or the brand Love Beets. And I often serve them as-is, but I’m inspired by these RD-approved recipes to start incorporating them into our family meals.
Clockwise from top:
Beet White Bean Hummus from Sharon Palmer. I think this would be a great recipe to cook with kids – they’ll love watching the mixture turn bright pink!
Sheet Pan Roasted Pork Filet with Roasted Root Vegetables from Create Kids Club. This recipe is more traditional and gives everyone at the table a few options to choose from if they’re not yet beet fans.
Roasted Beet Pesto and Greens Pasta Toss from One Hungry Bunny. Not only is this recipe super fun – purple pasta! – but if you’re using whole wheat pasta, perhaps you won’t get any complaints since the color is masked…
Rosemary Beet Fries from Holley Grainger. How fun and beautiful are these! I’d like to think no kid could resist trying them.
Beet Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins from RDelicious Kitchen. Also called “Love Muffins” (how cute!) I think kids will get a kick out of seeing how the beets color the muffin batter. Plus, chocolate!
Balsamic Chicken, Strawberry and Beet Kabobs with Creamy Basil Sauce from Lesley and Ann at My Menu Pal. Lesley and Ann call these “the best kabobs on the bar-b” and I think they’re right! How could you go wrong with this combo?
So, do you think your family will give beets a chance?